Nestled deep in the Santa Cruz mountains, down some twisty roads, is my favorite local state park: Portola Redwoods. Creeks, short waterfalls and old growth redwoods are tucked inside this lesser traveled park. The trees aren’t as large as the ones found in nearby Big Basin State Park, but more often than not, you’ll find them in solitude. Weekend obligations kept me in the Bay Area a few weeks ago so I popped over to this park for a bit of solo hiking and mileage in preparation for long missions this summer.
Tag: portola redwoods state park
Hike: Tiptoe Falls, Iverson Cabin Site, Old Tree
Where: Portola Redwoods State Park
Duration: 3 hours
Length: 5 miles?
Gear: Icebreaker Tech T Lite, Aether Apparel Elite Leggings, Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie, Boreas Gear Topaz 25, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterpoof Boots
Cost of Parking: $10
On Saturday morning, I set off to do a bit of solo hiking in Portola Redwoods State Park. I had a few hours to kill and wanted something a little more remote and quiet than the open space preserves in the area. This park is one of the hidden gems in the Bay Area, tucked away off of Skyline Blvd in La Honda, CA.
I decided to check out Tiptoe Falls in this severe drought to see if it still even existed. There are currently campground closures throughout the park and no running water throughout the park. My first stop would be Tiptoe Falls, approximately .5 miles away from the parking lot. The trail descended to Pescadero Creek, which had such low flow volume it appeared stagnant.
The trail then meandered into a grove of redwoods before crossing over Fall Creek to head to Tiptoe Falls. Fall Creek was bone dry with occasional little puddles. And then I encountered Tiptoe Falls, a 6′ tall wet rock. Calling the falls a trickle would be an insult. It is practically a seasonal fall at this point.
I then headed up the Iverson Trail to the Iverson cabin to climb up the Summit Trail. I encountered this little guy. Happy to see he’s still out and about, even with this ridiculously dry weather.
From Summit Trail, I turned left on Slate Creek Trail to head down to the Old Tree and back to the parking lot. It was a beautiful, and warm fall day. I only saw one other person on the trail, and there were no more than three cars parked at the trailhead.
If you’re looking for an escape from Bay Area crowds, this place is it.